What Is Christmas Tree Flocking?
Christmas tree traditions are different from family to family. Some families drive out to Christmas tree farms and select their own tree, still others buy artificial trees either because of allergies or simply because they’re easier to set up. What goes on the tree is different, too — from simple hand-made ornaments to elaborate light shows, you can find as many different styles of Christmas tree as there are families on your block.
Some people love the look of a snowy Christmas tree — this white “snowy” or “icy” look is accomplished with Christmas tree flocking. Christmas tree flocking is a kind of “artificial snow” effect that people apply to their Christmas tree. In some cases, the person selling the tree offers the options of flocking right at the retail site. There are also Christmas tree flocking sets you can buy and apply the flocking however you want it.
Christmas tree flocking: real or artificial trees?
Regardless of what kind of tree you want in your home, the convenient artificial tree or the traditional live Christmas tree, you can use flocking to create a cool winter-y effect. Flocking kits have improved over the years, so that in many cases the flocking looks like real snow. What kind of Christmas tree flocking you use determines the look of the flocking itself, and flocking ingredients vary widely from manufacturer to manufacturer. There are Christmas tree flocking mixtures you can mix and apply at home, pre-flocked artificial and even real trees, to professional flocking sprayer services that spray your tree with flocking for you.
What is in Christmas tree flocking?
The basic ingredients of flocking are the same with a few additions to the mix depending on the kind you buy. Many flocking manufacturers and Christmas tree farms use a flocking material chiefly composed of cellulose, water, wax or spray adhesive and, in some cases, a fire-retardant ingredient.
Nursery or Christmas tree farm based Christmas tree flockers usually use a spray applicator device attached to a long hose when they flock their trees, the hose is attached to a main reservoir full of premixed Christmas tree flocking. Whether or not you can find flocking services in your area depends on if the “flocked” Christmas tree look is popular where you live. Some parts of the country, notably in the South, do not flock their trees as often as their neighbors to the North.
History of Christmas tree flocking
The use of Christmas tree flocking mixtures that are put together and applied at home started in the 1940s. Lots of retailers sold Christmas tree flocking kits that used a vacuum cleaner (by then a fixture in American homes) to max and apply the flock itself. The flocking was powdery white, but was also available in pastel colors — blue and pink being the most popular. For families who couldn’t afford the mixture or wanted to make it at home, a combination of soap flakes, starch, and water (plus a little food coloring to give the tree an extra kick) made a nice dusting of Christmas tree flocking without much expense.
These days, Christmas tree flocking kits are sold in craft stores, home improvement stores, and specialty Christmas retailers. These modern flocking kits usually include ornaments as well as flocking, and depend on glue to help the customer “design their own” flocking style. Christmas tree flocking is more popular these days on holiday garlands, making a nice seasonal decoration for mantels, doorways, and wreaths at Christmas time. If you flock your Christmas tree, flocking your garlands makes the look really come together.
Other Christmas tree flocking options
More than just choosing a real or artificial tree, Christmas tree flocking options include lots of variables. You can buy artificial trees with Christmas tree flocking spray already on them, and there will be many different styles of pre-flocked tree, from totally white and snow-y to a simple glaze that looks more like ice. There is also the size choice — from flocking on just a few branches of a small tree to a fully flocked and gigantic artificial beast. Since most flocking yellows with age, it is best to flock your tree or buy your flocked tree within a couple of weeks of Christmas.
Is Christmas tree flocking “green”?
Since some Christmas tree flocking is made from little more than cellulose and wax, you can find “green” versions of flocking you can apply yourself. Look for Christmas tree flocking that does not contain a flame retardant (and make sure your Christmas tree is not a fire danger by keeping it away from hot lights) and read the other ingredients. Many Christmas tree flocking sprays you can use at home don’t advertise the fact that they’re “environmentally friendly”, but they are anyway.